Regional suppliers play role in global markets, says Anglia CEO
Steve Rawlins, CEO at Anglia talks to Electronics Weekly on the distribution company’s 40th anniversary about the role regional distributors can play in markets that are increasingly global.
Does regional distribution still have a purpose in a global industry?
Steve Rawlins: Being a regional distributor focussed just on the UK and Ireland is a huge advantage for us. We’ve always believed in investing in a strong team and a well-structured stock profile held in the UK, and that’s always going to be the central reason why customers keep coming back to us.
Beyond that, you’ve got to go the extra mile, which is why we formed Anglia Hi-Rel in 2010 and we’ve got all the approvals and accreditations needed including SC21, AS9120, ISO9001, ISO14001 and IECQ-CECC accreditations. We’re doing it again with Ready Reel, part-reel quantities available off the shelf with full traceability.
How is the role of a Distribution FAE changing?
Steve Rawlins: As suppliers assign more and more European customers to distribution, they are recognising that they need to offer distribution FAEs the same level of training as their own staff.
Now, the best distribution FAEs understand the products in their portfolio at least as well as the vendor’s in-house team that they are increasingly replacing, and are trained to the same level on the same courses, often by the product developers. Although some distributors remain reluctant to take an FAE off the road for three days to allow this to take place, the best are willing to make this investment.
What is your view of UK electronics manufacturing today?
Steve Rawlins: The UK small-medium electronic manufacturing services (EMS) and contract electronic manufacturing (CEM) business is quietly getting on with the job, and actually doing rather well.
UK manufacturing output still accounts for 17-19% of our economy, and in our industry, manufacturers tend to be small, privately owned businesses with 20-100 people, manufacturing (and sometimes designing) under contract rather than marketing their own products.
They are the invisible engine behind UK’s success in technology innovation, taking the fruits of the UK’s finest entrepreneurial minds, turning them into working marketable products and building them for shipment in low, medium or high volumes.
Flexibility is at the heart of their survival. They respond quickly enabling customers to capture spikes in demand, and cut back again to avoid unnecessary costs at times of low demand.
What does the UK manufacturing sector need from distributors?
Steve Rawlins: These small CEMs most of all need flexibility and where possible help with the ever increasing burden of regulation. Guaranteed overland shipments for next day delivery allow them to respond quickly to their customers without the need to hold stock themselves.
Our new ReadyReel service is an example of the kind of innovation that really helps, providing the same service on a sub-reel quantity as they get if they order a full reel supported by a UK Distribution Center.
Is Inplant Stock the right model for UK customers?
Steve Rawlins: We’ve set up successful in-plant arrangements with many customers, but there is no such thing as a free lunch in the supply chain. Although consignment stock eliminates the capital costs, the customer still needs to fund the distribution center itself, as well as the cost of managing the stock.
That involves keeping track of exactly what is being held, ensuring that the oldest stock is always used first, and disposing of out of date stock. Many customers find that dealing with a distributor offering a well-managed stock held in the UK gives almost all the
benefits of Inplant without any of the costs.